Monday, June 01, 2009

Books Buzz from the Meltingpot (and a Giveaway!)

Happy June Meltingpot Readers.

Sorry I wasn't here last Friday, but I was in New York City at BookExpo 2009, which is the biggest literary trade show in the country. I was lucky enough to speak on a panel called Voices and Visions of a New American Dream, with journalist turned novelist, Farai Chideya and poet Patricia Spears Jones. The panel was sponsored by a wonderful literary organization called, Up South. I highly recommend you check them out and attend some of their events or at least donate to their cause. One of the best questions the moderator asked the three of us on the panel was, "Why do you write?" The three of us, in our own way, all answered, "because we love it."

So with a happy literary buzz, I explored the rest of the expo, looking for interesting books to bring back to the Meltingpot. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough time to check out even half of the exhibits, but I'll share what I did find.

- In December 2009, riding the all things Obama popularity wave, Duke University Press will be releasing Surviving against the Odds: Village Industry in Indonesia by...wait for it...Barack Obama's mother, S. Ann Dunham. But hasn't she crossed over, you ask? Yes, but this was her doctoral dissertation and one of her former professors and students have since edited it and prepared it for publication. And Dunham's daughter, Maya Soetoro-Ng has written the foreword.
The book is being billed as "an anthropological study by the mother of President Barack Obama," but in its own right, it sounds like a fascinating read about "the rural craftsmen of Java." Who do you think will be buying this book? I probably won't but Duke University Press has many other books about race, culture and religion coming up this fall and winter that sound fantastic.

- Of course I had my eyes open for good multi-culti children's books and was overjoyed to discover Cinco Puntos Press. Their small booth at BookExpo was filled with colorful books in English and Spanish covering topics as diverse as the civil rights movement in America to Haitian folktales. It turns out that Cinco Puntos Press is a family owned and operated publishing house and bookstore based in El Paso, Texas. Texas Monthly magazine wrote this about them, "Since 1985, this family-owned and–operated indie publishing house has been churning out fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books on social justice issues around the world." I totally (heart) them already. You can order books directly from their website or look for their titles at your local bookstore or library. But please, lets support this dedicated publisher and bookstore committed to telling Meltingpot stories.

- And finally, after my rant against the dearth of good multi-culti magazines, I was so happy to meet the people behind Kiki Magazine. Yes, I'm a little bit old for their target demographic of girls age 8-14, but I still love it. It's fresh and smart and pretty to look at. Sample stories include, "Spring Holidays around the world," Eco-friendly fashion" and "The Greenest Cities in the World." It's a quarterly magazine started by a woman with a daughter who was frustrated with the lack of quality publications...hmmm...sounds familiar...

And in personal Lori L. Tharps literary news, Kinky Gazpacho:Life, Love & Spain was just released in paperback by Washington Square Press. The paperback is very cute and portable, perfect for summer reading and comes with a nice Book Group reading guide and an interview with moi. Run, run, run to your local book store for a copy. Or (drum roll) you can wait for another year until my new novel comes out. Yes, dear readers, I have just signed the contract for my first novel. It is called, Substitute Me and is about the relationship between a young White woman and the Black woman she hires to be the nanny for her young child. The two women are the same age and the story explores that very unique friendship/relationship. Look for it summer 2010.

And to celebrate my literary luck, I'm giving away two copies of Kinky Gazpachoin paperback, to two random readers who tell me what they're most looking forward to reading this summer. Entries must be in by Friday, June 5 by midnight.

(photo is book cover from Cinco Puntos Press)



Dee said...

I'm really looking forward to reading Alligator Bayou by Donna Jo Napoli. The story is based on the 1899 lynchings of five Silician men in Tallulah, Louisiana. It's not exactly a cheerful story, but the best part is the subplot involving a romance between a Sicilian and a black girl.

Anyway, I would love an autographed copy of Kinky Gazpacho! I could use a nice read on the long train rides to and from school. Good luck with the movie!

By the way, I have a nice recommendation for you! I'm sure both you and your hubby will enjoy it, given that he's from Spain. The book is titled The Cuisines of Spain by Teresa Barrenechea. It's a cookbook full of recipes from every corner of Spain--from Asturias to Salamanca, from Basque Country (where the author is from) to Andalusia. I saw many variations of Spain's most popular dishes like paella and gazpacho. I also saw great desserts like Galician Almond Cake and Churros with Hot Chocolate! Sounds delicious!

So check you local library for a copy. Amazon also has this book...speaking of which, I plan to scoot over there soon and buy my own copy! Enjoy!


Anna said...
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Anna said...

Congrats on the paperback coming out! I just read it a few weeks ago...rented it from the library but I would love a paperback copy of my own! And, I'll definitely be reading your novel when it comes out.

I'm most looking forward to reading "Where Did You Sleep Last Night". I had read "Caucasia" but I had no idea about this book until you reviewed it last week so thanks!

LT said...

Thanks Dee and Anna for the reccs. You are now officially in the drawing.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

I already own your hardcover so no need to enter me into the contest. I just wanted to say CONGRATS on the new novel. Great news.

Arienne said...

So excited about the paperback edition!

I'm looking forward to reading Colson Whitehead's 'Sag Harbor' because the bougie black story often gets lost in the literary shuffle. Too often, we're either "keeping it real" or are racially sanitized, and I'm hoping this books strikes a balance that reflects black success and black consciousness.

Keeping my fingers crossed!

Shuggie said...

Congratulations on your upcoming novel! The topic sounds intriguing.

I live close to NYC, so I often see Nannies of color and the white babies in their care that they're taking out for a stroll. I've often wondered about how they deal with the reactions of tourists not used to seeing that and, in a related sense, how Mothers of color deal with the reactions of of people seeing them with their own very light (or white-looking) kids. Looking forward to the novel.

As for my summer reading: I am a big devotee of Carla Harris (the Wall Street vet) - I've seen her speak numerous times and her career advice is amazing - so I was happy to know that she wrote: "Expect to Win" - not your typical summer reading, but worthwhile advice all the same.

I also can't wait to dig into "Push" by Sapphire - the inspiration for the upcoming movie by Mo'Nique called Precious.

mek said...

I want a Kinky Gazpacho! I am currently reading the new Diane McKinney-Whetstone book which I definitely wanted to check out, but I also want to read Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food, and catch up on the novels that have won the Man Booker prize in the last few years that I haven't read yet. Oh, and I want to read another book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. There are just so many books to read- wishing my maternity leave could last a long time...

Congratulations on the novel!

Olivia said...

Congratulations on the novel. Looking forward to it too.

I just added Bad Mothers (Ayelet Waldman)--- hard not to love her and the controversy she inspires and The Little Stranger (Sarah Waters)--- I could ALWAYS use a new novel by her, to my list of library holds.

Beth said...

Cinco Puntos Press is the best! A couple of my coworkers have become friendly with them over the course of several ALA Annual and REFORMA conferences, and always bring something delightful back from their booth. (I haven't gotten to go to either conference yet *sad face*) That looks like an adorable book - I think I have to buy it. :-)

I'm organizing the Big Read for the first time, to launch in September, and we're doing "Sun, Stone, and Shadows: 20 Mexican Short Stories" (which is fantastic!) so one of the things I'm having quite a lot of fun with this summer is evaluating books for supplemental reading lists. I just finished "Touching the Fire: Fifteen Poets of Today's Latino Rennaisance" and next up is a young adult book, "Rio Grande Stories."